Capitol Idea: Harry Reid’s No Grinch

Like most working Americans, I’ll probably be working right up through Christmas Eve. And, like most, I’ll be expected back at work on the following Monday.

Any time I take off aside from the days designated for Christmas and New Year’s, I’ll be expected to use my designated days off like any other vacation time.

I suspect that’s also the way it will be for most Americans working this holiday season, which is why not only do Republican complaints about working around the holidays ring hollow — they actually show a disrespect for the average Americans who put them in office.

GOP Sens. Jon Kyl and Jim DeMint each have attacked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for suggesting that the Senate might keep working up until the new Congress begins in January.

Kyl went so far as to say that in doing so, Reid is disrespecting Christians.

If that’s true, then so is every other business that keeps its doors open through this season — and such a suggestion is absurd!

Republicans like to tell people government should run more like a business. It seems that’s only true when the rules don’t apply to them.

This year, rather than play the part of Scrooge or the Grinch, Republicans like Kyl and DeMint sound more like the petulant, spoiled children who throw a tantrum when some extravagant gift they hoped for didn’t make it under the tree because doing so just wasn’t realistic.

Their sense of faux indignation is so insulting that it offended even fellow Republican-turned-TV-host Joe Scarborough, who took the senators to task last week on the air.

“To be sanctimonious and to use that is just — it is offensive, and the Republican Party has the upper hand in so many ways, in these areas they need to just shut their mouths, they’re embarrassing themselves,” the former GOP congressman from Florida says.

Scarborough notes that many working-class people “work late into Christmas Eve, wake up, steal a few hours with their children and go back to work on Christmas day.”

Most working people would be happy to trade their jobs for those that Kyl and DeMint are belittling.

Scarborough’s guest, Mike Barnicle, happily chimed in, “These are not serious people. They’re not serious people. I don’t know whether Senator Kyl or Senator DeMint inject themselves with Novocain or soak their faces in cement, how can say that without bursting into laughter it’s so absurd and offensive, I don’t know how they do it.”

Scarborough also notes the hypocrisy of Republicans who complain about keeping Congress open through late December, given that he actually was there when his Republican Party did so to hold impeachment votes against President Bill Clinton back in 1999.

If Kyl, DeMint, or any other lawmaker is forced to remain in Washington over the holidays, they will be no different than millions of other Americans who have to juggle their celebrations with the demands of their jobs.

Maybe the senators have been vilifying Washington for so long that they’ve begun to actually think we’re just a town of heathens and Satan-worshippers.

If Kyl and DeMint truly can’t get out of town on Christmas, they might be pleasantly surprised to learn the opposite is true. Our capital city is filled with very nice houses of worship to suit any denomination or taste.

Any of them would be most pleased to find a spot for either senator to join them to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade. Capitol Idea is his regular column from Washington. This article was first published as Harry Reid’s No Grinch on Blogcritics.

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